How to Deal With Loneliness
Readers share how they deal with feeling alone (because, let's be real, we all do sometimes!).
Loneliness is one of those fundamental human experiences that we all go through—sometimes a lot!—but it seems like it’s even worse with the invention of things like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook that basically invite FOMO into your life. Here’s how four girls overcome (or, in some cases, embrace) feeling alone:
Write and sing.
I feel alone at least once a week, usually at night. I feel that way whenever I see photos or Snaps of my friends, classmates, or family out doing cool things and hanging out with other friends while I'm sitting at home (which is what I do with the majority of my summers). Seeing that makes me think about how I feel like there's always a disconnect between me and the people I know because I'm not the most talkative, excitable, or adventurous person and I haven't experienced many of the things other people have.
I deal with my loneliness by singing along to (pretty angsty) music and writing. Singing is my way of trying to physically get rid of that simultaneously hollow but constricted feeling I get in my chest when I feel lonely, while writing helps me try to evaluate my relationships with people and my own psychology. It's usually just a transcription of my stream of consciousness, but some of it also turns into poetry. — Kelly, 17
Learn from it (and eat some ice cream).
Loneliness feels most like flashes of those quiet moments on a Sunday. There’s a quiet uneasiness it brings along with the usual hints of sadness and anxiety. A lot of my life revolves around long-distance friendships. For one, my best friend and I live on the other side of the world from each other and my whole family is only ever together during the holiday season. But I don’t feel alone most of the time despite the distance. Essentially, it’s kind of like those times where the aftermath of celebration, with all the laughs and stories, settles into a quiet after everyone’s gone their separate ways again. I suppose loneliness feels like the longing we have for good things to never end.
I’ve learned to cope with it in different ways. First, riding it out. Loneliness is sort of like a wave—it helps to go deep and ride it out instead of fighting it. Second, writing my feelings down always delivers peace. Writing isn’t everyone’s thing, so whatever helps you get that cathartic sensation is key. Third, and I say this with caution because loneliness is legitimate and our feelings are always valid, but finding things you’re thankful for can help. I find that there’s a lot out there to witness love in and sometimes surrounding myself with it helps me to feel like loneliness doesn’t have to take over. I’ve learned that loneliness can teach us how to grow in ways we never imagine; it’s one way I’ve taught myself to grow stronger and more rooted in my passions. I like to believe that loneliness is something we can get better at each time we experience it. And it’s best to reward ourselves with some pizza and ice cream after each win. — Sofia, 21
Make yourself make friends.
I am an only child (but I have a much older half-brother who doesn't live at home and hasn't during my lifetime) and I live in somewhat rural New Hampshire, so my home life has been pretty quiet. I have no neighbors who are my age. During high school, my friends were boys who were friends of my boyfriend. We all had lunch together and I carpooled to school every day with one of them. Most of the girls at my school weren't interested in talking about the issues that I’m interested in.
Now that I'm in college, I feel alone a lot due to the demands and stress of going to class, labs, and trying to do well in my classes. Even though studying with classmates or working on group projects happens occasionally, most of the students at my school throw themselves into their work in a quiet corner of the library or their dorm rooms with no distraction. I'm an introvert so I struggle to balance my time surrounded by other people (even if not interacting with them) and being alone. I do feel lonely a lot and struggle to make friends with others sometimes because I'm afraid others won't find me interesting enough. — Madison, 19
Do your own thing.
Social media plays a pretty big part in when I feel lonely. When I see all of my friends (not even an exaggeration!) having fun together without me, it makes me feel left out. I try to overcome it by having fun on my own. I go lots of places by myself like the mall, the movies, even dinner sometimes. It reminds me to take care of myself and that the latest Snapchat isn't everything. — Dymond, 17